It’s official, I’ve left the Four States. 

Don’t worry I was just on vacation. 

I hiked as high and far as I could in the Rocky Mountains and walked the cities of Boulder and Lafayette. 

As an adult I’m slowly making my way across the United States.

My mother was a single parent for the majority of my life. This made it difficult to travel to Disneyland, the ocean, the mountains, across the states or the world — I spent my whole life with an interest to go but simply couldn’t. I knew my parents wanted me to see the world and now that I'm an adult they encourage travel far and wide. They, too, are working on doing all the things they couldn’t in years past. 

As a child I dreaded coming back from winter and summer breaks because the teachers usually asked ”What did you do with your family during break?” 

My classmates would pop their hands up and say, “we traveled to [put anywhere cool here]!”

When it came around to my turn I would usually say I went to Pittsburg, and people would gasp and go “cool” and then I’d have to follow up with “Kansas” because they thought I went to Pennsylvania and apparently that’s a cool place. This usually followed with a disappointing and underwhelming “oh” and it would be the next student’s turn. 

Ouch, my little heart would break. 

At this point in my life I lived in the Kansas City area and visited my grandparents and great grandmother in Pittsburg and Weir respectively. 

We’d take the $10 it used to cost in gas and go down Highway 69 to a place I now call home. 

Sadly, no one in my class knew of the magical place with all of the dragons and gorillas.

As a child, I thought I was uninteresting and not well traveled — both of which were very important to me during my most impressionable years. I’ve looked back on my journals from back then and it breaks my heart to know that I felt so lonely simply because I didn’t have the experiences my peers had — which was more than just vacations. 

Little did I know that I was not alone and it wasn’t unusual. In fact, even more affluent families sometimes never went anywhere, but that was not my perception when I was a child. 

I can’t help but what I didn’t know. Looking back, my visits to Pittsburg are some of my most cherished memories, too bad I didn’t see it then.